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The Netherlands Tech Ecosystem: Data Snapshots from LinkedIn

9 April 2021 , by Alexandra Hanson

At our recent online webinar, Career Moves for Senior Developers, Ray McDonnell (Enterprise Account Director at LinkedIn) deep-dived into data insights from LinkedIn on the Netherlands Tech Ecosystem and how it relates to Software Developer Careers.

Read the full presentation below, or watch the 10 minute presentation from 07:22. Deep dive into the presentation slides here.

Hi everyone. My name is Ray McDonald. I am an enterprise account director at LinkedIn and I advise our clients on their end-to-end talent strategy. A lot of the work that we do, as Stephen mentioned, is how to use data and create insights to make more strategic people-related decisions.

[07:22] As you might tell from my accent and my lack of a haircut (because we're in lockdown), I'm based in Ireland. Today I am going to chat to you for about 10 minutes. I'm really just going to cover three things because I believe in the rule of three.


  1. Number one, we're going to look at the supply side. What's happening with the member base in the Netherlands, and specifically relating to tech.
  2. The second piece we're going to look at is the demand side. What is the demand like for skills and particularly tech skills, in the Netherlands? What I can say as a sneak preview: it is very, very high.
  3. And then to finish, we're going to look at some trends, so what's happening. We're going to look at some career transitions for developers: What you should and shouldn't do.

[08:17] I would like to take a step back and inform you a little bit about LinkedIn, and talk about our mission and vision. Our mission is to connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful. Our vision is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. Personally, I believe that LinkedIn can help people throughout their professional life, and not just in those moments in time when you're looking for a job or when you're researching a company.

[08:51] We're seeing a massive trend and what we're going to talk about today is that companies are hiring based on skills. We're going to talk a lot about skill-based hiring. In terms of how we operationalise that mission and that vision, we do that by what we call the economic graph.

[09:10] The economic graph is a digital representation of the global workforce, where we match people (people like me, people like you, people like Stephen). We match our members at the companies that those folks actually work for, to the jobs that those companies are hiring for, for the skills, the knowledge, and the skills that they will potentially have to attend to - to actually get their dream job. That's how we create economic opportunity.

[09:38] I'm happy to share that our member base is still growing, and it's growing by two new members every second. Particularly with the events of the past 12 months, our engagement on the platform has increased dramatically.

[09:52] Let's look at the Netherlands specifically and what the member base looks like in the Netherlands. We can see that we have 8.2 million members, almost 500,000 companies, and 682,000 jobs. But what does this mean for the developer community? Well, I can tell you about the developer community in the Netherlands, and the folks at OfferZen were kind enough to share 10 to 15 typical developer roles.

[10:17] We can see the developer community in the Netherlands is about 60,000 to 70,000 people. We can see that the market is relatively fluid for you guys, so you change jobs. We can see your median tenure in those jobs is about 1.4 years. So the market is relatively fluid and demands again for talent and for all the people on this call is very high.

[10:46] Diversity is something that is heavily skewed towards males and the most common programming languages: SQL, CSS, HTML and C#.

[11:02] We're going to go a little bit deeper now into the member demographics of the Netherlands. In terms of industries, what are we seeing in terms of industries? The top industries in the Netherlands are healthcare, corporate services, and we can also see software and IT. This particular graph is benchmarked against the European average.

[11:25] The second piece of information that we're going to look at is functional areas. What we can see from this data and the graph on the left is that there's quite a lot of people in business development in the Netherlands, and almost a third extra than the European average.

[11:43] In terms of information technology, we can also see that there's a higher concentration of people in the Netherlands than elsewhere. If you move to the right-hand side, we're looking at the most common occupations. Now what's interesting but not surprising to me, as I've done a little bit of research about the Netherlands - what we're seeing here is the real entrepreneurial spirit that exists within the Netherlands.

[12:08] So far and away, we can see there are way more owners. We can see that there's way more managing directors and co-owners. That real entrepreneurial spirit really comes to the fore, and let's not forget Software Engineers definitely also appear on that list.

[12:27] Now we're going to look at the generations. The four generations in today's workforce are Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z.

The highlight for me here is that, with Baby Boomers and Gen X in particular, there's a much higher concentration of traditional skills.

If you think about sales and leadership, Millennials and Gen Z are winning in terms of artificial intelligence, data science, and design thinking creativity. That's a trend that we're seeing across those generations on LinkedIn.

[13:15] More heavily leaned in are Baby Boomers towards those softer skills, and I'm going to talk a lot about softer skills towards the end because they're really important. We've seen a huge demand or an increase in people actually looking for those softer skills. We also noticed a great tech community in the Netherlands, but what do those softer skills look like?

[13:37] In terms of skills, the highest increase in demand, like programming languages, has the highest increase in demand across the Netherlands. We see demand for skills associated with cloud computing and programming skills has increased considerably over the course of the past 12 months. If we take a look on the right-hand side, we can see what those programming languages look like.

[14:05] We all know, and we've all heard the fourth industrial revolution is upon us. We all understand how much that's accelerated over the course of the last 12 months and how much that's impacted our personal lives, our professional lives and our roles. So what does that look like on LinkedIn?

[14:26] We can now see that across these five areas: Robotics, machine learning, the internet of things, and big data, that the growth and jobs advertised for those skills has increased exponentially over the last 12 months. We can see demand for skills across our platform has increased quite dramatically.

[14:53] We've looked at supply, we've looked at what the member base looks like in the Netherlands, and we know that demand for skills across that member base is extremely high based on our data. But what can you do today? What can you do today to upskill yourself and potentially transition into a new role? What are employers looking for?

[15:20] What they're looking for are lifelong learners. We can see trends across the platform that people in tech professions are lifelong learners. They're consistently updating their skills in terms of programming languages. We can also see that, given the trends over the last 12 months, that you're going to have qualitative shifts in your career skills and new currency, and your career is going to shift - your career is going to change.

[15:52] It's really, really important to have a growth mindset, but it's also important to look ahead and keep your finger on the pulse. Over the last 10 years, we've seen that industries are going to emerge, some industries are going to decline, and some industries are going to pivot.

[16:11] I know, Jeremy’s going to speak later about Netflix. That's a great example of a company that used to distribute DVDs, they've moved into online streaming and are one of the most successful businesses in the world today. Looking out and looking ahead, your actual network is so important - so consistently look out, build your network, and interact with companies like OfferZen, to look for those potential opportunities.

[16:42] So, what does the skills gap mean for you? On the left-hand side, I'm going to say something completely obvious. Upskilling in tech and keeping your finger on the pulse in terms of the tech solutions that your team already has and the ones they’re potentially looking to implement is super, super important.

[17:02] On the right-hand side, and we see this in the data as well, I can't overemphasise the importance of doubling down on soft skills. We've seen a huge demand for soft skills across the platform, particularly if you're thinking about moving into that senior IT role. If you're transitioning from a Senior Engineer or a Software Engineer, you're potentially looking at CTO or something like that. Having those softer skills, those leadership skills, those collaboration skills are super important, and what our clients are looking for.

[17:42] What we're looking at here is potential development paths for a Software Engineer. So, our economic graph team has done a lot of work in which you can actually plug your own role into our economic graph, and see where your skills gaps lie and look at your potential transitions into your next role. Check it out here.

[18:10] One of the things that I'm really focusing on with my clients right now is, is that piece around internal mobility. What we're looking at is possible development paths for a Software Engineer. These development paths are based on transitions that we see happening on the platform almost every day.

[18:32] The roles on the left-hand side, your Systems Developers, your Full-stack Engineers, your Technology Specialists, we can see that these roles can potentially transition to a Software Engineer. We see the skills gaps in these roles in the middle, are ReactJS or NodeJS. Of course, across the platform, we see people upskilling in terms of how they are going to fill those skills gaps.

[19:03] You can have a look at our economic graph here. Between LinkedIn and Microsoft we've also unlocked a lot of free courses, and there's also a combination of those softer skills and technical skills.

[19:22] So, what are the fastest-growing skills that we see for tech talent globally? So if you can scan that article there, or look here. We can see that Cybersecurity is number one, Network Engineering, number two, Analytical Skills, and so forth. That's just across IT.

[19:47] The next piece we're going to look at is engineering. So, the fastest-growing skills for tech talent across engineering are React, Docker, and AWS.

To summarise, I would say demand for this talent is global, but in the Netherlands in particular, it is really, really high. We can see across the platform that skills and skills-based hiring are something that our clients are very keen to pursue. So, in terms of your own development and how you pursue that development, like updating yourself and skilling yourself up on tech skills is really important, please don't forget those softer skills.

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